Congress has several things to do before the end of the year, but probably nothing is more anticipated than the budget conference committee producing an agreement between the two parties. The Huffington Post has published a story suggesting that a deal is in the offing. Supposedly the budget will call for $990 billion in spending, which is $23 billion more than currently provided for. The automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester, will be replaced thanks to savings from various sources and income from spectrum auctions and increases in TSA fees. Roll Call is reporting that the House leadership has decided to call the body into session next Monday, a meeting that was not initially on their calendar; some have wondered whether this is a sign that they will vote on some kind of deal from the conference committee.
This week’s other major news is the results of the Obama Administration’s attempts to fix the HealthCare.gov website following its abysmal rollout. Following fierce criticism for the faulty site, the White House gave December 1 as a date for repairs—and congressional Democrats, especially vulnerable Senate candidates, have to rely on them to deliver. Many Hill Democrats are reportedly feeling much better about the whole situation, but a number are still displeased, and some are continuing with legislation to fix Obamacare.
Speaker of the House John Boehner criticized the Democratic-controlled Senate for not working with the House on two important priorities: the budget and the farm bill. This comes at a time when pundits are remarking how this Congress has passed the fewest laws in years. The Speaker remarked, “if you look at the number of bills passed by the House and the paltry number of bills passed by the Senate, you can see where the problem is.”
And like people across the country, the Congress is preparing for the holidays, complete with a ginormous Christmas tree. The Capitol has had a Christmas tree each year for decades, and Congress continues the tradition tonight with its tree lighting at 5:00pm. You can watch live on the Speaker’s website.
And for our latest blog post: Flattening the Rules: The Implications of the Senate Nuclear Option